The Harbour Bridge Cats

article by Kate Walker , illustrated by Fifi Colston

Learning intention

I am learning to identify a variety of quotation marks so that I can convey meaning in my writing.

Success criteria

  • I can generate ideas to write a short text using research material based on the life of the White Cats.
  • I can create a short text using direct speech and quotation marks.

As a class, read the text, The Harbour Bridge Cats.


Essential Knowledge:

Give the students a contextual understanding of the text and explain to them through these sites so they all have a deeper shared understanding of the content within this text.

  • Show the class this original filmclip from 1969 which gives background to the article, featuring the White Cats of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
  • Show the students this article from the Australian Geographic which features ‘The world-famous’ cats that once lived in the Sydney Harbour Bridge and discuss the two photos that it has featured in the article.

How have these photos developed the story line in the article?

Ask students to, think pair share this question and then report their thoughts to the class.

Ask students to imagine that the cats are going to take them on a tour of the Harbour Bridge.

Students can write notes in their student workbook on each of the four questions.

  1. What would be an interesting site for the Cats to show on the tour?
  2. Describe how people would follow the Cats on a tour.
  3. Explain the views that the cats would see from their home on the bridge.
  4. Discuss what the Cats like and don’t like about living on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Students can share their answers with a partner.

Identifying and creating quotation marks in a text.

To first understand the use of quotation marks, check students’ prior knowledge.

  • What are quotation marks?
  • Review with students, the rules and use of quotation marks to signal dialogue..
  • This site includes teaching strategies for language conventions and quotation marks.

Explain to the students that they will be constructing direct speech using quotation marks based on the character of one of the Sydney Harbour Bridge Cats.

As a Cat on the bridge, imagine what you would say if you had to take people on a tour of your home.

Allow time and opportunity for students to practice their use of quotation marks using the worksheet. Use the framework as a guide for students to follow and construct their own text.

If you have a digital subscription, complete the interactive activity using quotation marks.